The housing market remains busy. Compared to the last ‘normal’ market of 2019, buyer enquiries are up 31% and mortgage approvals and sales are up by 12% and 11% respectively. However, there are half as many properties available to buy and stock levels are down 55% (Rightmove, HMRC, Bank of England). The prolonged mismatch between demand and supply continues to support prices. On average, properties are selling subject to contract in just 31 days, the quickest time ever recorded. With competition for properties remaining high, Rightmove report that asking prices have hit their fourth consecutive record high in as many months.
Over 433,000 homes in the UK changed hands in the first four months of 2022, making this the third busiest start to a year since 2007. Last year was an exceptional year due to Covid-19 and 2016 saw a surge prior to the introduction of the 3% additional homes surcharge. Except for last year, April 2022 has been the busiest since 2007 (Dataloft, HMRC). More than one in every 25 properties has changed hands across Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk in the past year. Uttlesford and South Norfolk are currently the most active housing markets in the region.
A perfect storm
Economic headwinds are gaining momentum. Expectations of global and UK economic growth have been pared back, while consumer confidence has plummeted to its lowest level since records began in 1974. Optimism is weaker than during the global financial crisis, Brexit or Covid-19 (GfK). The Covid recovery, war in Ukraine and rising energy and food prices, alongside a strong labour market and low unemployment, have created a perfect storm. Inflation is pushing a 40-year high. Thanks to fixed-rate mortgages, many households are cushioned from the impact of the latest base rate rise, but day-to-day budgets are increasingly feeling the squeeze.
Double-digit property price growth remains evident in many localities in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, with annual price growth in the East of England currently stronger than it was a year ago (ONS, UK HPI). Across the region there is less than two months of available stock left to sell, down by almost half on the historical norm.
Slow gear change
For many, the question is when, not if, the property market will start to moderate. However, any gear change is liable to be slow and steady, and not an emergency brake as was the case in the global financial crisis of 2008. Forecasters still anticipate positive price growth over the course of the year. Market fundamentals remain strong. A strong desire to move remains in the minds of many and there is a shortage of properties, compounded by data indicating that new home completions remain below pre-Covid levels and short of the government’s 300,000 homes target.
Mapledown was constructed by the present and only owner in the 1980's to a traditional design with light buff brick walls under an interlocking tiled roof with naturally stained wooden windows with sealed double glazed panes. The house has well proportioned and bright rooms with a double aspect sitting room, dining room and kitchen all at the rear, to take advantage of the spectacular views.
Oak House is an imposing Grade II listed house occupying a central position within the towns' conservation area with frontage onto the High Street. Believed to have been originally a coach house, we understand that the earliest record of the house is 1730. In the 1900's it became the local Doctors house with the adjacent cottage being used as the surgery until the 1970's when it was used as a Bed & Breakfast. In 1984 it became a retirement home for the elderly until 2002 when it became the home of music publishers. Since then it has continued to be a private dwelling house.
Refurbished and well presented three/four bedroom grade ii listed thatched cottage on just under 0.5 acre plot situated in a village location with vaulted ceiling garden room with bi-fold doors leading onto the garden. Accommodation, with many original features, includes entrance hall, lounge, dining room, family room/bedroom four, kitchen, utility room and shower room on the ground floor. On the first floor there are three bedrooms and family bathroom.
As property prices and demand continue to rise, sell your property with experts in the property industry this spring. Contact your local Guild Membertoday.